Case Summary – Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Devonshires’ client is a dealer and auctioneer of fine and rare antique and modern coins.

The claim arose after a customer attended our client’s online auction, placed a number of winning bids and subsequently failed to pay for the items in breach of the terms and conditions of the auction and well-established principles of English contract law.

Our client approached Devonshires after multiple attempts to amicably resolve matters with the customer to no avail. In the first instance, a Letter Before Claim was sent to the customer setting out the basis for the claim and, when no response was received, a claim was issued via Money Claims Online (MCOL) for £20,066.00 (the value of the outstanding invoice) plus interest and fixed costs. MCOL is a relatively new scheme designed to offer a simpler way for Claimants to commence and pursue County Court claims for a fixed amount of money.

The Defendant failed to file a Defence to the claim within the requisite amount of time or at all, and we were therefore able to request judgment in default be entered against the Defendant using MCOL’s online system.

Once the Court had issued its judgment for the full value of the debt, the debtor’s known assets and employment status were considered and it was decided that the most effective means to enforce the Judgment debt would be to appoint a High Court Enforcement Agent. A High Court Enforcement Officer is able to attend a debtor’s known residence and request proposals for payment and, if none are received, take any assets they can legally seize and send these for sale at auction.

Given the value of the judgment debt, the agent arranged for it to be transferred from the County Court to the High Court and contacted the debtor to request payment. The agent thereafter attended the debtor’s residential address, following which full payment was made of the judgment debt, costs and the agent’s fees, meaning no further enforcement action was necessary.

The client received the sum of £24,142.89 in respect of the full debt, interest and legal costs. The enforcement agent also recovered its fees of £2,471.18 from the debtor.

This was a good result for our client, with the overall costs of the claim being in the region of £3,432.50 plus the court fee of £1,003.30, in contrast with total recoveries in excess of £24,000.

For more information contact Fay Birch.

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